This Pride Month, 15 GP surgeries across three Essex districts have stepped up to meet the needs of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients, some among the first in the country to receive a special award.
The GP practices in mid Essex, comprising Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District, have all received awards from the Pride in Practice programme for making services more accessible for LGBT people in their communities. And 11 have further cause to be proud as they are the first in the county to receive the Pride in Practice Gold Award – the highest possible rating available.
Dr Anna Davey, Chair of NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP partner at a Braintree District surgery deemed outstanding by the LGBT Foundation, said: “I’m really proud that such a large number of colleagues in local surgeries have proved their commitment to giving our LGBT residents the best standard of care. We know that even unconscious bias is something to be wary of so I am delighted we can show we are a safe place for everyone to discuss their health with us.
“I would encourage all mid Essex practices to sign up for the scheme once we are through the current challenging times, as my practice found it of real benefit to us as well as our patients. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Pride Month.”
Planned and delivered by the LGBT Foundation, Pride in Practice is an evidence-based scheme open to all GP surgeries in mid Essex, the first area of the UK outside Greater Manchester it has been offered. The programme is endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and other clinical bodies and measures how well surgeries meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and regulatory bodies.
Most importantly, the programme supports surgery staff to strengthen relationships with LGBT patients and more confidently support their needs.
Dr Michael Brady, National Advisor for LGBT Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Now more than ever it is vital that we address LGBT health inequalities. Pride in Practice is a great example of primary care services taking the lead to improve the care and experience of LGBT patients. Through better monitoring, staff training and the support provided by the LGBT Foundation, practices are able to both identify inequalities and address them. I applaud all these practices for their efforts in ensuring they deliver LGBT inclusive care and look forward to seeing more services taking up this initiative.”
Claudia Carvell, Business Development Manager for Pride in Practice, said: “This is a fantastic accomplishment for each of the 15 GP practices who’ve achieved a Pride in Practice award, meaning that more LGBT people than ever can have confidence that their identity will be recognised and considered as part of their GP appointments. We know that many LGBT people may worry about accessing services for fear of experiencing discrimination or even hostility on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity or trans status and it is imperative that we overcome this to enable health providers to become more aware of the needs of LGBT communities and how to best address them. As Pride month approaches, there’s never been a better time for GP practices to take part. We’ve also recently launched our Pride in Practice Training Academy, a training and accreditation service designed to promote LGBT inclusion at home, at work and in the community.”
Jacquie Russell from OutHouse East, a local LGBT charity in Essex said: “OutHouse East support and advocate any training that ensures that our LGBTQ+ community have a great standard of health care. As Dr Anna Davey stated ‘unconscious bias is something that needs to be aware of’ so we would like to see far more surgeries across Essex working towards a high standard of care and we will in turn support in any way we can.”
Surgeries that sign up to Pride in Practice receive personalised and ongoing support from the LGBT Foundation through dedicated account managers and access to resources. As well as the 11 gold awards, 1 silver and 3 bronze awards have also been awarded in mid Essex.
The 15 Practices are:
- Blandford Medical Centre, Braintree (Gold award)
- Coggeshall Surgery, (Gold award)
- Fern House Surgery, Witham (Gold award)
- Beauchamp House Surgery, Chelmsford (Gold award)
- The Writtle Surgery (Gold award)
- Rivermead Gate Medical Centre, Chelmsford (Gold award)
- Whitley House Surgery, Chelmsford (Gold award)
- Baddow Village Surgery (Gold award)
- North Chelmsford Health Centre, Chelmsford (Gold award)
- Beacon Health Group (Danbury Surgery, Mountbatten House Surgery, Moulsham Lodge Surgery) (Gold award)
- Longfield Medical Centre, Maldon (Silver award)
- Chelmer Village Surgery, Chelmsford (Bronze award)
- Stock Surgery (Bronze award)
- Tollesbury Surgery (Bronze award)